MORRISTOWN, NJ – Working with its partners at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the staff at Morristown National Historical Park (NHP) hosted on Wednesday, September 25, 2019, the 11th annual naturalization ceremony in the park’s Washington’s Headquarters Museum.
At the ceremony, 24 Morristown-area individuals who originated from 12 countries became new United States citizens. The new citizens hail from Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Ghana, Guatemala, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, United Kingdom, and Zambia.
Morristown NHP Superintendent Thomas E. Ross and Washington Association of New Jersey (WANJ) Trustee Russell MacAusland welcomed and congratulated the new citizens, and USCIS Supervisory Immigration Services Officer Cruz M. Builes served as the Master of Ceremonies.
The keynote speaker was Patrick Murray, Director of Monmouth University's Polling Institute, who noted the continual significance of immigrants in building the United States. Mr. Murray stated that
"The first known officially declared federal holiday was Saint Patrick's Day, March 17, 1780, for which General George Washington decreed a day of rest for the Continental Army's soldiers in honor of its many Irish soldiers' contributions to the new nation",said Murray.
Murray also emphasized the importance of civic engagement, not only on the federal level, but also on the local level, and the need to participate in elections and pay close attention to what happens in one's own town, county, and the State of New Jersey.
The Morristown NHP event was part of USCIS’ annual celebration of Constitution Week and Citizenship Day. In honor of Constitution Week, the USCIS celebrates the connection between the United States Constitution and citizenship and encourages all Americans to reflect on what it means to be a citizen of the United States.
To mark Constitution Week, Pat Sanftner of the Morristown Chapter, NSDAR provided hand bells to the new citizens, speakers, and some audience members, and she and other members of the DAR lead the new citizens in ringing the bells to honor the Constitution. The ceremony concluded with a joyful clatter of bells in support of the Constitution.
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